On Tuesday, it was announced that fabled finger-wagging figure Dikembe Mutombo would be honored by the Atlanta Hawks and have his No. 55 jersey lifted to the rafters in Philips Arena next November.
Mutombo's No. 55 will be retired during Nov. 24 game vs. Celtics on TNT.
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) September 1, 2015
For the Hawks, it’s a wonderful gesture for a player who ranks third in franchise history in blocked shots and rebounds per game, and who won two Defensive Player of the Year Awards and made five All-Star appearances in a Hawks uniform. As for Mutombo, the news actually came as a surprise as the legendary shot-blocker was caught off guard when Hawks CEO Steve Coonin made the announcement.
The 49-year-old was being honored by Fulton County at a ceremony in the Government Center Atrium, but he had no idea that his jersey was going to be retired. Mutombo was all smiles in his astonishment.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 2, 2015
“The most surprising, as you can see from the tears in my eyes, is the announcement that was made (that my jersey will be retired),” Mutombo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution later that day. “It’s the most shocking to me. … I didn’t know the Hawks were going to retire my jersey. I can’t believe it. It’s going to be a great day.”
Mutombo will become the fourth Hawk to have his jersey retired after Bob Pettit, Dominique Wilkins, and the late Lou Hudson. And it’s a truly deserved honor for a guy who was one of the most intimidating rim protectors in NBA history on the hardwood and a legendary humanitarian off it.
Now the only question is if Mutombo will bust out his signature move during the ceremony.